Part 11: Manatee Springs, FL to Everglade City, FL


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The Trip

From Manatee Springs, we continued south toward the Everglades.  We had been in contact with a 404 mogger that lives there.  He and his wife offered to let us stay at their place, so that is what we decided to do.  Along the way, we visited a friend of a friend that lives in the Clearwater area and did an area recon of the tourist zone.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

At Manatee Springs, there were many deer.  And the deer knew how to work the crowd for handouts and were not afraid of human presence.  There were a set of 4 that came through the campground every few hours, but I could not get a shot of the whole herd.

From Manatee, we headed south into the Clearwater area and spent a very hot night at the KOA.  We hooked up with a Denise and Bill; we have a mutual friend Robin.  Denise met us at the KOA where we were staying and we went to the beach to see the sights.  What we saw there was a pleasant surprise from some of the other citizens in the northern part of the state.

We went to a bar right on the beach called "Frenchy's" and we saw this fellow working the parking lot for handouts.  That is Kathleen's leg in the background, so this bird is quite tame.

While waiting for a table, I decided to shoot some of the local sights.  The general consensus among the girls and I was that these were not factory equipment.

Sometimes, going to the beach can be quite a pleasure.  Ah, to be young again.

Many of the patrons at the bar were heavily inked.  This fellow had plenty of real estate done, but it was all monochrome.

There were plenty of folks on the beach.  It was hot, really hot.  All the locals stated that it was "unseasonal" but it was still hot.  And, we do not have a/c in the camper, so the night was going to be quite uncomfortable.  In the end, Denise and Bill invited us to stay at their place, so we happily accepted.  They have a/c in their house.

It took about 1/2 hour to get seated, but we did get to sit on the outside deck.  The place was packed.

These folks were in some kind of dance group.

Plenty of folks on the beach.  Did I mention it was HOT?

And speaking of hot, Kathleen and Denise, our hostess.

Neon green was an interesting twist.

Many folks were strolling the beach.

The folks down near the beach seem to be much more fit than the people we encountered inland.

The dance group started practicing.  Quite interesting to watch, needless to say.

No comment needed.

A photo of Frenchy's beach bar where we ate lunch.

We ate dinner with Denise and then went back to her place to crash.  Next morning, she said she would take us island hopping with her buddies in their boat.  As we were preparing to load up, I spotted this heron on their sea wall.

Bill and Denise have a place that has dock in their backyard.  The place is on the intercoastal waterway and provides easy access to beach areas via their boat.  Above Denise and Kathleen load supplies for the day's trip.  It was hot again, so we brought plenty of water, beer and ice.  Once we boat was loaded and lowered into the water, we were off.

On our way out to the main intercoastal passage, we passed plenty of nice hardware.  This fellow has PLENTY of horsepower to run his boat.

There were many shacks on the beach.

Some of these places were primary residences, others were second homes.

The intercoastal has many drawbridges and this one was opening for the boat coming through on the left.

We took the boat to a bar and had a few drinks.  After several rum runners, Kathleen became overrun with lizards.

From my perch at the bar, I spotted this white heron.  Notice the head feathers.

From Clearwater, we headed over to Tampa to hook up with a fellow mogger Jack Miles to have lunch on the beach.  After lunch, he needed to check out the 1300.  Above Kathleen shot us doing the walk around.

From Tampa, we continued south along I-75 and we encountered this awesome bridge.  Note how steep the approaches are.  I had to gear down to make it over.

The geometry of the support cables made an interesting sight.

We continued south to Sarasota and did some chores in town.  After getting the necessities (ice, beer, diesel) we went to the state park in Osprey.  The spot we had was right on the bayou.  It was still quite hot, uncomfortably so, but all things fall to sufficient beer.  The shot above was taken off the back porch of the truck.

The place was overrun by these funky, furry caterpillars.

From Osprey, we headed south to the everglades to meet another unimogger.  On the way to his ranch, we spotted this turtle crossing the road.  He would have been hit, so we stopped and moved him to the side of the road.  He would not come out of his shell, so the photo above is the best I could do.

Many thanks to Bill and Denise for hosting us at their house for 2 nights.  The a/c was a life saver.  The Clearwater Beach area was quite nice but both touristy and pricey.  Those issues notwithstanding, we saw some interesting sights and had a great time.  Our tour on the intercoastal was very nice and the water was ideal.

Tomorrow, we would head into the everglades swamp and do an air boat tour.  Hopefully, we will see some interesting wildlife.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2010, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.